Mercer County Correction Officers complete special operations trainingFull size photo

Mercer County Correction Officers complete special operations training

MEDIA CONTACT:  Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

- An elite team of personnel from the Mercer County Correction Center recently completed an intensive 55-hour program in tactical training for correction officers. The Mercer County Emergency Response Team program, or MERT, teaches officers innovative ways to manage potentially volatile situations with inmates.

A group of 11 officers underwent the training the week of Nov. 28 and covered all aspects of advanced officer training including confrontational avoidance techniques, restraint training, cell extractions, use of weapons, range exercises, riot control, and written and practical exams. As part of their final exam officers were required to perform an oral presentation that would be suitable for a civilian audience. Among the topics presented were the importance of the MERT program; use of tactical gear; and alternative inmate control measures.

The course was taught by Mercer County Correction Center personnel who last year graduated from a Master-level certification program provided by TJA Use of Force Training Inc. This latest group of graduates is the second class to benefit from the “Train the Trainer” course.

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes noted not only the effectiveness of the advanced training but the savings passed on to county residents by having county personnel deliver the instruction. “Our investment in the MERT team training last year is paying off now and with every new group of officers who graduate from this course and are trained in-house. Our County Correction Center is run by extremely well-trained staff that works hard to ensure the facility operates safely and efficiently.”

The Mercer County Correction Center is located in Hopewell Township and houses approximately 800 inmates on any given day. Correction officers maintain order within the institution and enforce rules and regulations. To help ensure that inmates are orderly and obey rules, correction officers monitor the activities and supervise the work assignments of inmates. Sometimes, officers must search inmates and their living quarters for contraband like weapons or drugs, settle disputes between inmates, and enforce discipline. Officers also escort prisoners between the institution and courtrooms, medical facilities, and other destinations.

“The more skills an officer can utilize and execute effectively during training, the greater the likelihood of him or her successfully resolving a crisis in reality, added Hughes.

Among the new program graduates are: Officers Michelle Bar, Trenton; Nancy Bardachino, Hamilton; Matthew Commiso, Ewing; Chad Frascella, Titusville; John Gorski, Hamilton; Keith Krasznai, Hamilton; Stephen Rinz, Hamilton; Nicholas Snyder, Trenton; Gary Vannozzi, Bordentown; Brian Valyo, Hamilton; Joseph Yenchick, Hamilton; and Lloyd Murphy, Burlington Township.

Instructors are Sgt. Shawn Palmer; Sgt. Timothy Friel; Sgt. George Mizsak; Sgt. Michael Kownacki, Sgt. Saul Walker; Officer Alex Trojakowski; and Officers Brian Waters and Robert Walter, SWAT Medics. The MERT Commanders are Lt. Eric L. Boné and Lt. Michael Gorski;